Pride Issue 2014: Concert Preview

Mary Lambert of “Same Love” fame headlines St. Pete Pride’s big Friday night fundraiser.


Mary Lambert.
  • Mary Lambert.

When Seattle-based hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis released their marriage equality anthem “Same Love” in 2012, it quickly climbed up the charts.

The double-platinum hit featured socially conscious, upbeat lyrics and an unencumbered flow. But the catchy, sweet refrain — “My love, my love, my love, she keeps me warm, she keeps me warm” — also helped drive its popularity.

While many might instantly recognize that hummable chorus, they might not know the woman who wrote it. But for Mary Lambert, that’s starting to change. She’ll be headlining this year’s St. Pete Pride 27/82 The Concert on Friday, June 27, at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg.
A mutual friend put Lambert, also from Seattle, in touch with Macklemore & Lewis while the duo was writing “Same Love” and struggling with the chorus. She was working as a barista at the time, and given the daunting task of coming up with the perfect refrain in just three hours. So she did a shot with her boss, popped open a bottle of Champagne, and got to work.

“Then I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta fucking write this thing.’ Priorities,” she said in a press bio.

A Christian and a lesbian, Lambert decided to tackle the chorus from her personal vantage point.

“The song already had a brain,” she said. “I wanted to give it a heart and make a very simple statement that my love is valid, too.”

She earned two Grammy nominations with the song — “Song of the Year” and “Album of the Year” — and has since performed with Macklemore & Lewis on the MTV Video Music Awards, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Colbert Report, in addition to joining them on tour.

Lambert was signed by Capitol Records, releasing an EP Welcome to the Age of My Body in December 2013. This EP featured her first single, “She Keeps Me Warm.” She’ll release a full-length album later this year.

Though she’s a major-label pop artist, she easily eschews the stereotypes that go with it — she’s inspired by confessional singer-songwriters like Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls as well as spoken word poetry.

And though she’s humorous and affable while bantering on stage and in interviews, many of her songs take on a darker tone. She writes music to process past traumas — drug and alcohol abuse, being raised by strict, poor Pentecostal parents, a bipolar disorder diagnosis, surviving a gang rape and being molested by her father as a child.

“It’s important for me to be completely and totally open,” she said.

She even tackles society’s obsession with body image, and how self-destructive that can be, with her second single “Body Love,” which is part spoken word, part rhythmic electronic diatribe. She released a music video for “Body Love” (Parts 1 and 2) in April.
Hunter Valentine.
  • Hunter Valentine.

Canadian alternative rockers Hunter Valentine also take the State Theatre stage on Friday night. Led by the charismatic Kiyomi McCloskey, they rose to celesbian-dom on the reality series The Real L Word stars. They chose their soap star-sounding name because it sounded a “risky, dangerous, sort of like the ultimate heartbreaker kind of person,” McCloskey told Lesbian Life — and a name that’s intentionally gender-neutral. Once June’s Pride Month is over, Hunter Valentine will be joining this summer’s Warped Tour.

Orlando-based Kill the Sound will also rock out on Friday. The group combines elements of alternative and garage rock for an infectious, energetic set.

27/82 (named after the latitude and longitude of the Tampa Bay region) is presented by St. Pete Pride and Sarasota Pride to raise money for various nonprofit community organizations throughout the area. Proceeds will go to the St. Pete Pride Community Grants Program. 

STREET MUSIC: Highlights of Sunday’s Street Fest lineup.

Vernessa Mitchell. A Grammy-nominated gospel star, Mitchell has won fans on the LGBT club circuit for dance-floor remixes of hits like “Accept Me!” and “Rise.” She’s also known for an uplifting number called “Unity” that apparently confused some observers in Atlanta a few years ago: CL found a post on Project Q from August, 2010 stating that Mitchell had performed the song for a No On Marriage rally that attracted a big counter-protest by pro-gay marriage forces. She says the report completely misinterpreted the situation. In an email statement forwarded to CL by St. Pete Pride, she said, “I was asked to do a song I wrote called ‘UNITY.’ I thought it was suggested to unify the community, however I did not know prior to being asked for this particular event that it was indeed anti Gay… I believe it is [a] person[‘s] right to choose whom they love and marry. I have tried my best through my music to communicate a message of love, faith and hope to the gay community and the world, and they have embraced this message.” A gospel singer who’s for marriage equality? Amen to that! Wells Fargo Main Stage, Central Ave. at 22nd St., 2 p.m.
Vernessa Mitchell.
  • Vernessa Mitchell.

Karmic Tattoo.
“The All Female Rockin’ Band!” also known as KT is a local favorite, playing a range of music from ’60s covers to originals. Wells Fargo Main Stage, Central Ave. at 22nd St., Noon.

Chris Stein. A singer/model/actor from New Port Richey who’s slated to appear in The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2, according to his bio. Paging Katniss Everdeen! Wells Fargo Main Stage, 1 p.m.

Alyssa Hailey. A TG pop singer whose first album, Alter Ego. dropped on iTunes earlier this year. Wells Fargo Main Stage, 2:30 p.m.
Kim Roberts. Acoustic blues, pop, rock and country. Wells Fargo Main Stage, 3 p.m.

Iris Calling. An eclecteic alternative folk band. Wells Fargo Main Stage, 4:30 p.m.

Ryan Perry. The video for his new single “Wet” should look familiar to certain Pinellas club-hoppers and pool-partiers: Much of the video was shot at the Flamingo Resort. Wells Fargo Main Stage, 5:15 p.m.

The Queens of Queens Head. Not an official title for the lineup at the Queens Head Stage, but with a roster including such drag goddesses as Anjila Cavalier, Franki Markstone, Alexis De La Mer and the ubiquitous Scott & Patti, it might as well be. Continuous performances from 11:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Note that Miss, Mr. and Mister St. Pete Pride 2014 will be making appearances on both stages, at 11:30 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Stage and at 3:30 at Queens Head. Queens Head Stage, 2400 block of Central Ave.
For full schedule of music acts during the June 29 Street Fest, go to

—David Warner

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